Coronavirus could be defeated only with scientific origin-tracing and unity, not its politicisation

Hou YanqiAugust 9, 2021messenger sharing button

People wait to be tested for the coronavirus at a Kathmandu-based hospital, in July 2020.

It has been more than a year since the outbreak of Covid-19 struck and we are still facing resurgence and frequent mutations of the virus. The situation remains complex and grave. To clinch an early victory against Covid-19 and restore economic growth remains the top priority for the international community and the common aspiration of all the countries. The virus knows no border and endangers all human beings. In the face of this once-in-a-century pandemic, as President Xi Jinping has rightly stated, “Solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon to defeat Covid-19. Cooperation is like the sunshine that can dispel the dark clouds of Covid-19.”

In this unprecedented fight against the pandemic, China has stood at the forefront with great sacrifice and courage by not only effectively curbing the domestic crisis but also developing vaccines at the fastest speed and thus actively contributed Chinese wisdom and strength to the global fight against the pandemic and implemented the concept of a global community of health for all with concrete actions.

China has been a firm collaborator in the scientific origin-tracing of the virus. The virus origin-tracing is vital to the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and concerns the well-being of the entire humanity. It can only be scientifically advanced through enhanced cooperation. China has taken the lead in cooperating with the WHO in an open, transparent and responsible manner, invited twice the WHO expert group to China for origin study, released the joint WHO-China study report in March and made important contributions to the international cooperation on origin-tracing. This effort should be continued in unity with other actors as it is the only way to defeat the virus.

China’s contribution so far

File: 400 oxygen cylinders that Nepal received from China for its Covid-19 response

China has been an active practitioner of international anti-pandemic cooperation. ‘Solidarity’ and ‘cooperation’ are the most frequently used words in President Xi’s expounding of the anti-Covid-19 propositions. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, China has provided USD 2 billion in assistance to the developing countries and provided more than 280 billion masks, 3.4 billion protective suits and 4 billion testing kits to the world. China will provide an additional 3 billion US dollars in international aid over the next three years to support Covid-19 response and economic and social recovery in other developing countries.

China has been the biggest contributor to equitable access to vaccines. As the largest developing country and a responsible member of the international community, despite the need for mass vaccination at home, China has done its best to provide more than 700 million doses of vaccines to over 100 countries in the world and has provided the largest number of vaccines to the developing countries. A few days ago, President Xi Jinping sent a message to the first meeting of the International Forum on Covid-19 Vaccine Cooperation and announced that, in the course of this year, China will strive to provide 2 billion doses of vaccines to the world and has decided to donate USD 100 million to the COVAX Facility for distributing vaccines to developing countries.

Up to now, China has provided 1.8 million doses of vaccines to Nepal under grant assistance and delivered 4 million doses of vaccines procured by the Nepali government. Recently, the Chinese government has decided to provide additional 1.6 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Nepal under grant assistance and will continue to facilitate the commercial procurement of vaccines for Nepal in China.

Need for an origin-tracing

Chinese Ambassador Hou Yanqi hands over Vero Cell vaccines to Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi

It must be pointed out that the virus origin-tracing is a complex scientific issue and should be studied by scientists in the spirit of science. All the countries in the world should also actively participate in global cooperation on origin-tracing with an open-minded attitude and jointly study the source of the coronavirus in order to provide support to the global fight against the pandemic. The above-mentioned joint WHO-China study report has made scientific conclusions on the origin and transmission route of the virus and fully affirmed China’s measures to cut off the transmission route of the virus, which has provided important guidance to the global origin study.

It is regrettable that some countries and individuals tried to scapegoat China in order to shift responsibility for its poor Covid-19 response and achieve the political motive of smearing and suppressing China, but they cannot come up with any basis which withstands scrutiny. Their actions have been generally opposed by people of vision who uphold justice from all over the world. Nearly 70 countries have expressed opposition to the politicisation of origin-tracing and support of China-WHO joint mission report by writing letters to the WHO Director-General, issuing statements and sending notes. Over 300 political parties, organisations and think tanks from over 100 countries and regions submitted a joint statement to the WHO Secretariat, urging the WHO to conduct research on global tracing for Covid-19 origins in an objective and fair manner and opposing the politicisation of the study of the Covid-19 origin.

On July 7, 2021, scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia released a preprint paper on Zenodo, a research data sharing platform in Europe, in which they wrote, “There is currently no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 has a laboratory origin. There is no evidence that any early cases had any connection to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” An authoritative expert on infectious disease in Milan said at a committee for social affairs of the Chamber of Deputies that the coronavirus is an unknown virus with no signs of genome engineering inside. Professor Ju Liya, the chief scientist of the European precision medicine platform and a doctor of immunology at the Pasteur Institute, also pointed out origin-tracing must respect objective facts and scientific data and reject political prejudices and presumption of guilt based on them.

Let us keep politics away from origin-tracing and make science return to science. The irresponsible and unscientific act of politicising this issue is the most dangerous political virus, which will only severely hinder global cooperation in the study of origins, jeopardise anti-pandemic cooperation, and cost more lives. We believe that only if all the parties of the international community unite and cooperate in the spirit of science to find the true origin of the virus which endangers human life, we can effectively deal with and defeat this virus and create enabling conditions for protecting the common safety and health of humankind and promoting economic recovery.

@online khabar

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